19 September 2012, 6.46am AEST
Originally posted on The Conversation.Written by Tim Anderson, a senior Lecturer (Political Economy) at University of Sydney
A building Aleppo attacked by Free Syrian Army fighters. EPA/Sana


It is a paradox of our digital age that, despite an enormous supply of information, a powerful yet misleading consensus can still shape the course of international relations. Such was the case with the supposed threat from Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”, and such is the case with the foreign-backed “revolution” in Syria.

The “consensus” from March 2011 was that President Bashar al-Assad was a “brutal dictator”; the Syrian people had risen up against his regime as part of the Arab Spring’s democratic awakening; Assad’s minority Alawi group was repressing the majority Sunni group; and a rebel force had been formed from army defectors and outside forces were only helping them defend a civilian population.

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